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Argentina to face Chile in FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier

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Argentina will face Chile in the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier.

The most unthinkable dooms of a World Cup without Argentina or Lionel Messi could move a step closer to becoming reality on Thursday as the South American giants prepare to face stubborn rival  Chile in a crucial battle on the road to Russia 2018.

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Argentina, who last failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1970, saw their progress towards next year’s finals go away in 2016 when consecutive draws with Venezuela and Peru were followed by defeats against Paraguay and Brazil.

Although they became rejuvenated after beating Colombia 3-0 in a home qualifier last November, they remain outside the conventional qualifying places in fifth place, with 19 points from 12 games, whereas Chile remains a step ahead at Fourth position
Securing 20 points after 12 matches.

Argentina had beaten Chile last year in march by 2-1 at Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile.
The only consolation for new Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza is that opponents Chile is struggling with their own bunch of problems, notably the suspension of Arturo Vidal and a fitness concern surrounding Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez.

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Sanchez trained with the team in Santiago this week despite suffering an ankle injury while on Arsenal duty last weekend.

As far the news came from La Albiceleste Camp Funes Mori is suspended, while Manchester City ace Sergio Aguero will join Argentina attack & Man UTD defender Marcos Rojo will stand in his position as a Central Defender to mitigate the absence of Funes Mori.

Though Juventus youngster Paulo Dybala Joined Argentina national team & trained a bit but Juventus confirmed a slight muscle strain in his leg. Hence he is under dilemma of being included in starting XI. In that case, Aguero will join Di Maria, Messi & Higuain to sharpen the Argentine attack against chile at Estadio Monumental, Coach Edgardo Bauza reported in a Press Conference.

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“Kun (Aguero) is in the best form… With Messi, Di Maria and Higuain they can tip the balance,” coach Edgardo Bauza told a news conference. “Aguero will play the (number) nine (Higuain) but he’s a forward,” Bauza added. “It’s not a new position for Rojo… At his club, he’s played 80 percent of matches as a central defender.”

Aguero was on the bench for Argentina’s last two qualifiers, a 3-0 defeat away to Brazil and a 3-0 home win over Colombia in November, while Rojo had been dropped altogether. Brazil is top with 27 points, Uruguay second with 23, followed by Ecuador and Chile on 20 and Argentina with 19.

We’re going to play against a direct rival, well aware of the difficulties we could have (but) I’ve always been an optimist and I have a lot of confidence in Argentina’s players. I think we’ll qualify,” Bauza said. Sevilla’s Gabriel Mercado replaces the injured Pablo Zabaleta at right back.

Chile, who beat Argentina on penalties in the last two Copa America finals, will be without the suspended Arturo Vidal and injured midfielder Marcelo Diaz, while defender Gary Medel is in doubt with a leg muscle injury.

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Another Concern for Argentina is that half of the team players including captain Messi are in an uncomfortable position with one yellow card away from getting a suspension in the next crucial match against Bolivia at La Paz, an environmental challenge with high altitude breathing problems.

Chile had beaten Argentina in last two consecutive Copa America Finals through penalty-shootout. They will face Argentina without the suspended Arturo Vidal and injured midfielder Marcelo Diaz, while defender Gary Medel is in doubt with a leg muscle injury.